Puncture resistance of PVC geomembranes using the truncated cone test

Timothy D Stark, T. R. Boerman, C. J. Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an experimental study to develop a design procedure for the puncture behavior of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) geomembranes. The puncture resistance was measured using the truncated cone test, in which truncated cones are used as puncture points. The heights of the truncated cones are varied to determine the critical cone height, which is the height at which geomembrane puncture occurs for a given pressure. A cushion geotextile is not used in any test to enhance puncture resistance because of the large cone heights required to puncture PVC geomembranes. Critical cone heights are presented for 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm and 1.0 mm thick PVC geomembranes. The results of these tests show that as the thickness of the PVC geomembrane increases, the critical cone height increases. This indicates an increased puncture resistance with increasing geomembrane thickness. The results of the puncture tests on PVC geomembranes are compared with other types of geomembrane, e.g. smooth and textured 1.5 mm thick high-density polyethylene and 1.0 mm thick linear low-density polyethylene. This comparison shows that the puncture resistance of PVC geomembranes used in this investigation exceeds that of polyethylene geomembranes, even though the PVC geomembranes are thinner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-486
Number of pages7
JournalGeosynthetics International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Durability
  • Geosynthetics
  • PVC geomembrane
  • Puncture resistance
  • Truncated cone test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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